If you’re new to David Coppedge’s lawsuit against Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and & Caltech, for factual background see David Coppedge v. JPL & Caltech — He’s Fired! Our last post about this case was David Coppedge v. JPL & Caltech (18 Feb ’11). There we reported that Coppedge had requested leave to file an amended complaint to include a wrongful termination claim, and he also requested a continuance of the trial. Both requests, presumably unopposed, were granted on 14 February. The trial is now scheduled to start on 19 October of this year.
In that same post we told you about an article that was favorable to Coppedge because it was based on his version of the facts. From that article we concluded that over a period of ten years he had committed at least 200 separate acts of creationist proselytizing on the job.
The long-awaited amended complaint for wrongful firing been filed now. We read Coppedge Lawsuit Against NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab Amended to Allege Wrongful Termination at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
The Discoveroids’ blog entry doesn’t say anything interesting, but they do give a link to Coppedge’s Second Amended Complaint, a 40-page pdf file. In multiple counts that invoke various statutes he alleges religious discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful demotion, and wrongful termination. It’s far too long to summarize, so we’ll give you some choice excerpts, with bold font added by us.
In the beginning, where the parties are identified and the underlying facts are set forth, it says:
9. Plaintiff, an information technology (“IT”) specialist, was charged with violating his employer’s anti-harassment and ethics policies. The allegations of harassment against Plaintiff included, without limitation, charges that he had (1) promoted his religious views by discussing with co-workers a scientific theory of life’s origins known as Intelligent Design (“ID”); (2) promoted his religious views by requesting that the annual “Holiday Party” be re-named the “Christmas Party”; and (3) promoted his religious and/or political views by discussing Proposition 8, a November 2009 ballot initiative approved by voters amending the California Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman as the only constitutionally authorized form of marriage in the state.
Aha! His behavior wasn’t limited to hawking his creationism. We didn’t know that. Let’s read on:
10. During a dressing-down by his Project Management supervisor, Plaintiff was told that his discussions with co-workers concerning ID and his distribution of documentary DVDs entitled “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Privileged Planet” amounted to “pushing religion” and were “unwelcome” and “disruptive.” Although no one had previously said these things to him, his supervisors informed him that “a lot of people had been overly nice to you just to move on when you presented the ideas.”
Poor Coppedge. Although we estimate that he had attempted to promote creationism to JPL employees at least 200 times, he never had the first clue that his behavior was unwelcome. We continue:
11. Plaintiff was ordered not to discuss ID, religion or politics under threat of termination, and though he complied with the unfair order he was nevertheless stripped of his team leadership position and reassigned to a job position with less responsibility and fewer privileges, embarrassing, degrading and humiliating him. Until his wrongful termination in retaliation for the filing of this lawsuit and based on his expression of religious, political and ID-related issues, he remained constrained in his ability to express his views on religion, politics and ID and was kept a prisoner of JPL‟s discriminatory policies and actions. Plaintiff was stigmatized in such a way that career advancement opportunities had been foreclosed to him, and he endured each working day under a cloud of suspicion and a threat of termination lest he say anything by which someone might take offense.
This is soooooo good! As the saying goes, your Curmudgeon gets a thrill up his leg reading this stuff.
After some irrelevant blather about Coppedge’s “scientific” interest in intelligent design, the complaint discusses his insistence that the holiday party be re-named the Christmas party. After that the complaint discusses his “conversations” with JPL employees about Proposition 8 — a proposal to ban gay marriage in California. Coppedge supported Prop 8 on religious grounds. He got into some presumably heated discussions with colleagues (Chin, Weisenfelder, Vetter and Edgington), who “all disagreed with Proposition 8 and voted against it.” They complained about him. At this point we’re in the middle of paragraph 33, which says:
Vetter, Edgington and Chin question religion and do not practice it. Although they once practiced the Christian faith, neither Vetter, Edgington nor Chin proclaim Jesus Christ as their savior and have abandoned their Christian faith. Weisenfelder obtained a “mail-order” ordination in an organization entitled the “Metaphysical Interfaith Church,” and believes that religion should never be discussed in the workplace under any circumstances. With one exception, they are all members of the Democratic Party.
Do we need to go on? No, we don’t. You get the general idea. If you like, go ahead and read it all. It’s an interesting way to spend 20 minutes or so. Our leg is still tingling. Go and do thou likewise.
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